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Standing Before the Shouting Mob, Standing Before the Shouting Mob, 0817354913, 0-8173-5491-3, 978-0-8173-5491-6, 9780817354916, , , Standing Before the Shouting Mob, 081730858X, 0-8173-0858-X, 978-0-8173-0858-2, 9780817308582,

Standing Before the Shouting Mob
Lenoir Chambers and Virginia's Massive Resistance to Public School Integration
by Alex Leidholdt

Quality Paper
2007. 208 pp.
Price:  $29.95 s

A southern journalist campaigns for racial understanding during the
struggle over school desegregation in Virginia.

In 1958 the nation's attention was focused on Norfolk,
Virginia, where nearly ten thousand students were locked out of their schools.
Rather than comply with the desegregation mandate of Brown v. Board
of Education
, Governor J. Lindsay Almond, supported by the powerful
political machine of Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr., had closed Norfolk's white
secondary schools.

Massive resistance to integration transformed Norfolk
into a civil rights arena. Although the process by which Norfolk's schools
were integrated was far from orderly, the transition was characterized
by debate, political maneuvering, and judicial action--not violence. Lenoir
Chambers, editor of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, conducted a five-year
editorial campaign supporting the peaceful implementation of the Court's
order. The Pilot was Virginia's only white newspaper to take this
position. Chambers was later awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his editorials.

Utilizing a wide range of primary and secondary sources,
Standing before the Shouting Mob examines Chambers's campaign, explores
the influences that shaped his racial views, and places him within the
context of southern journalism. The book also provides a detailed analysis
of Virginia's massive resistance and Norfolk's school closing.


Alexander Leidholdt is Assistant Professor of Communication
at Purdue University.


"Lenoir Chambers was editor of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot during the1950s [and] in 1954, following the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, he urged southerners to accept the fact that the age of segregation was over. Instead, Virginia embarked on a determined campaign of massive resistance . . . . In 1960 Chambers received the Pulitzer Prize. He had, indeed, been unique: the only editor of a major Virginia newspaper to advocate obedience to what, after all, was the law of the land!"The book’s principal contribution is its persuasive portrait of a thoroughly admirable and courageous journalist . . . . An important, well-researched, and well-written contribution."
Journal of American History

"Chambers was among only four of 53 southern journalists who consistently supported the 1954 Brown decision, [and] he received the Pulitzer Prize for his influential editorials —the Pilot was second in circulation among Virginia’s newspapers— during Norfolk’s school closings. Chambers represented, writes Leidholdt, the best of the South: genteel manners, courage, democratic beliefs, adherence to law, and rejection of intolerance."
Journal of Southern History